Here we seek to identify the role of diabetes in Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) pathogenesis. MERS-CoV emerged in 2012 in Saudi Arabia leading to over 1700 infections with a ~40% case fatality rate. The majority of lethal MERS-CoV infections are associated with comorbidity, with diabetes as the top comorbidity. We will use a mouse model of MERS-CoV to identify if preexisting Type 2 diabetes exacerbates MERS-CoV disease, how diabetes alters the inflammatory response and protection from MERS-CoV and if drugs targeting a regulator of diabetes can protect mice from MERS-CoV.
The recently emerged Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a highly pathogenic respiratory virus with ~40% case fatality rate. We have developed a novel mouse model of MERS-CoV and will use it to identify if diabetes, the major comorbidity associated with lethal MERS infections, exacerbates viral replication and clinical disease. This work will lead to understanding of how comorbidities impact MERS patients and has important public health significance for future patient cohorts.